Birdman is the Pick of the Week

This week has us talking about has-been super-heroes, Japanese folk-tales, dumb comedies, and life itself.
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Last year, I moved from a teeny tiny little town in Tennessee to a slightly larger one in Oklahoma.  The benefit of the slightly larger one is that it's fairly close to a much larger city, namely Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Now, Tulsa isn’t the most cosmopolitan of metropolises.  It isn’t the biggest and brightest of places in the universe.  It's not even the largest city in Oklahoma, and lord knows Oklahoma rarely shows up on anybody’s places you want to be.  But it has its appeal.  It has some nice shopping, some big parks, a couple of museums (and while they hardly have any artists I’ve ever heard of its still a nice place to go).  They get some decent concerts (usually smaller acts on their way to something big, or bigger acts on their way down).  They have a few some big movie houses, an IMAX, and my favorite, The Circle Cinema which plays all the small, independent art house fair.

Now and again, the Circle does this cool thing where they invite authors, directors, and artists to come talk about their work and then show a film they were a part of.  A couple of months back I heard James Ellroy speak and then we watched L.A. Confidential.  Tomorrow, I’ll be hearing Irvine Welsh give a talk before we take in Trainspotting.  For those of you living in New York or Los Angeles, all of this is old hat, but to a guy who has spent the last half decade living in a town where if one wanted to see a non-blockbuster type movie you had to either buy it off Amazon or steal it, this is as close as it gets to paradise.

Sadly, though the Circle Cinema showed Birdman, I didn’t get to see it.  Having a three-year-old sometimes means you still miss out on cool events no matter how close you are.

In it, Michael Keaton plays an actor, who years before starred as Birdman, an iconic superhero, and became rich and famous for it.  Now, more than a decade later, he’s taking one last shot at regaining some credibility.  Keaton, who of course played Batman in those giant Tim Burton films has also seen his star fall from those days.  It was a big risk for him to play such a character but it seems to have paid off.  The critical praise has been loud and the film looks poised to win all sorts of glamorous awards.

I’m thrilled to be living somewhere now where I can catch films like Birdman on the big screen, and a world where they actually get made.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

St. Vincent:  Bill Murray continues his late-career renaissance.  I honestly have no idea what this one is about, but I like going into a film with no preconceived idea of what’s going to unfold.  I do know that the buzz has been good, and Murray rarely does wrong anymore.

Game of Thrones: Season 4:  Though I’ve read all the books, I’m a season behind on the show.  Looking forward to seeing how well they kept George R.R. Martin’s words.

The Theory of Everything:  The story of Stephen Hawking before he became crippled with ALS.

Doctor Who: Last Christmas:  I continue to enjoy Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor.  He’s older and a bit grittier than the last couple of incarnations and to prove it his first Christmas Special is full of truly dark, and scary monsters.

Life Itself:  I miss Roger Ebert more than I thought possible.  Though he has been gone nearly two years, I still catch myself searching for his reviews of new movies I’ve just seen.  He was not only a great movie reviewer but a brilliant writer, something I continue to strive to be.  Shortly before he died, he wrote a memoir and now that book has been turned into this documentary.  I can’t wait to watch it.

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya:  The most recent film by Studio Ghibli is based upon a folktale about a tiny girl found inside a shining stalk of bamboo.

The Homesman:  A gritty, old-time westen starring Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank.

The Interview:  I really do not care of Seth Rogen comedies.  There are only so many pot jokes I can take and he surpassed that number many films ago.  I don’t plan to watch this, but I have enjoyed the crazy way its release has played out.  Who knew a dumb comedy could create so many real stakes in international politics?

Dumb and Dumber To: Speaking of bad comedies I won’t watch…

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